The note taped to the door said: See you at Wild Notes Karaoke Bar.
"Well I don't know about you, Thusie, but I've had a damn good night," said Captain Scarlight. He swayed along the quay towards their ship.
I do wish you wouldn't keep referring to me as Thusie. My name is Methuselah, said the parrot on his shoulder. Being telepathic, Methuselah didn't need to speak out loud. The captain screwed up his face as the parrot's words echoed around his brain.
"Don't talk to me in my head like that, you know it confuses me."
It is the only way we may maintain a conversation.
"Pah, I don't want to talk to you anyway," said the captain. "All you ever do is tell me off for drinking and being merry."
That's because all you ever do is drink and be merry.
"That is not true, not at all!"
The captain stumbled up the plank to the ship. He tripped onto the deck, driving his knee into the wooden boards. He yelped in pain.
Indeed, Captain, you are as sober as a judge.
The captain threw an evil look at Methuselah. He hauled himself to his feet and tottered up the steps to the next deck. A piece of paper fluttered against the door to his quarters.
"What's this?" he said. He pulled the paper from its pin, and squinted to read the awkward handwriting. The note simply said: See you at Wild Notes Karaoke Bar.
"Oh-ho! A karaoke bar!" Captain Scarlight grinned.
What on earth is a karaoke bar?
"It's just a pub with a house band. They play songs you know, and you get up and sing them," replied the captain.
I do hope you are not planning on attending.
"I have to! Look, I've been invited." The captain waved the note at Methuselah.
The captain spun on his heel and wobbled back down the deck. Methuselah flew past him. He let an air current carry him to a bollard on the quay. A karaoke bar sounded like his idea of hell, but he felt obliged to accompany the captain. Lord knows what might occur if Captain Scarlight went unchaperoned.
"Come on, Thusie, it'll be fun!"
You have already spent four hours in the local watering hole with your men. Why must you go elsewhere?
"Pah!" replied the captain.
Methuselah thought it best not to ask how the captain knew the location of the karaoke bar. It made life easier not to question, or even understand, his bizarre ways.
Wild Notes Karaoke Bar squatted at the end of an alley filled with trash. Ancient handbills papered its stone walls between narrow windows. The captain yanked open the door and sound poured out into the alley. Raucous laughter and bad music filled the air. The captain plunged into the sea of bodies.
A four-piece band stood on the small stage. They fought their way through an old sea shanty. What they lacked in ability, they made up for in boundless enthusiasm. One musician used a stick and three strands of rope attached to a box as a double bass, and he plucked the strings with gusto. A man lurched and rolled in front of them. His tuneless caterwauling hurt Methuselah's ears. He fluttered across the bar to land on the captain's shoulder.
"Ah, my kind of place!" said Captain Scarlight. He caught the barkeeper's attention and ordered a drink.
A young man sidled up to the captain. A gold ring dangled from his left ear, and a scar twisted up his cheek into his hair. Methuselah recognised him from the ship. The parrot looked past him and saw several of the younger crew members further down the bar. They gazed at the captain in awe.
"You got our note then?" said the pirate.
"Ah-ha! Jonno! I did indeed! Very good choice of venue, my boy," said the captain. He thumped Jonno on the shoulder and laughed. Jonno grinned, but rubbed his shoulder when the captain looked away.
"Rex met a wench at the last pub and she told us about this place. We thought you'd like it," said Jonno.
"And I do indeed. Have you boys had a go yet?" The captain gestured to the stage. The drunk man sat in a heap in front of the stage, his place taken by a swarthy man in red. He crooned an old classic, drowned out by the band.
"No, we're too nervous. But we wondered if you would?"
"Of course I will! Where do I sign up?"
"No need, sir. Our current customer was the last to volunteer. If you want to go next, just wait at the bottom of the stage," said the barkeeper.
"Splendid!" roared the captain. He pushed his way through the crowd to the stage. The boys from the ship loitered by the bar. Methuselah perched on a beer tap.
The crooner left the stage, shaking his head. The band helped Captain Scarlight up onto the stage. They conferred for several moments before the captain turned to the crowd. A hush fell over the bar.
"My good gentlemen, and lovely wenches!" said the captain. The crowd cheered.
Please, Captain, do not do this.
The captain glared at Methuselah across the bar. He held up his hand for silence. Methuselah stole a glance at the crew. They stood transfixed. The captain dropped his hand and the band broke into tuneless song. The crowd whooped and cheered as the captain shouted his way through the first verse. Methuselah shook his head in disbelief when the captain reached the chorus.
"Did you ever know that you're my heeeeee-rooooooo? And everything I would like to beeeeeeeeee? See, I can fly higher than an eeeeeeeeagle, and you are the wind beneath my wiiiiiiiiiings!"
* * *
Captain Scarlight and Methuselah have appeared before in two previous Friday Flash outings! Check out Pieces O' Eight and Polly Wants A Cracker.